“Both the Volvo Group and Volvo Trucks have a strong presence in the U.S., and I personally believe strongly in developing our relations with North America,” says Staffan Jufors, CEO of Volvo Trucks Corporation, which is the world’s second biggest manufacturer of large trucks.
“Edays is a very interesting concept, which can support the business community in and around Gothenburg. I like the fact that we can do this in a simple and pragmatic way. It can help build a contact network between the region and corresponding business interest in North America and the U.S.,” says Staffan Jufors who is Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the upcoming Entrepreneurial Days conference and matchmaking event in Gothenburg. “It is important to help build relationships with the U.S., both for us, our suppliers and companies in other sectors of our region,” he says.
Staffan Jufors is a Volvo veteran, having worked at the Swedish car and truck company for close to four decades. He travels a lot to the U.S., mostly for work, but also to visit his son and his son’s family, which lives in Virginia Beach in North Carolina.
“My impression from the meetings we’ve had at the Advisory Board is that there is a very strong interest in E-Days. We have representatives for a number of business sectors, municipalities and the public sector. We have banks, energy technology, electricity, and the health care sector. Everybody really wants to come together and make this a success,” he says. “Decision makers in West Sweden have shown a strong interest in E-Days. My impression of SACC-USA’s role in this is also very positive. They always come very well prepared to the meetings and act professionally,” he adds.
Volvo Trucks today employs approximately 20,000 people globally. It manufactures at 8 wholly-owned assembly plants and 9 factories owned by local partners. Most of the production is located Sweden, Belgium, Brazil and the U.S. 95 percent of its trucks weigh in at 16 tons or more. It is an international operation with sales in over 140 countries.
The global financial and economic crisis that began in September 2008 has had a large impact on Volvo Trucks, but the market is improving. Staffan Jufors says that demand is strong in South America, many parts of Europe and the Middle East, but the North American market is still struggling to make its way out of the recession. Add to that that the impact of changing emissions standards. In 2006 many U.S. customers bought trucks in advance of tougher emissions requirements beginning in 2007, which led to a peak of 350,000 trucks sold, but worsened the slow-down in sales when the recession hit.
Long-term he is optimistic about the U.S. market which normally represents 20 percent of Volvo Trucks global sales. When it comes to the increasing environmental standards, he doesn’t see that as a technical problem – Volvo can deliver for most alternative fuel platforms. “It is important for us that our politicians decide what kind of fuel society and industry should focus on. This would give us guidance as we continue to develop new engines. It would also enable the growth of distribution networks we need to fill up our trucks. Getting a new fuel into the market requires cooperation between several parties,” say Staffan Jufors.